"We're Expecting!" Breastfeeding Tips and Benefits for Mom and Baby
The joy of welcoming a new child into the world is a significant milestone.
From picking nursery colors to deciding on childcare, preparing for your
new baby and all the decisions that come with it is no small feat and
can feel overwhelming at times.
More important that selecting the perfect rocking chair or finding the
cutest outfit for leaving the hospital, deciding whether to breastfeed
is one of the most critical decisions a new mother will make.
“There are a number of health benefits to breastfeeding for both
mom and baby, but it takes commitment,” said Lynda Desmarais, RN,
IBCLC. “Our Lactation Consultants, certified by the International
Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, which is the gold standard for
breastfeeding, are available to offer assistance and support for moms
before, during and after they welcome their new baby into the world.”
CaroMont’s lactation experts break down these benefits to help you
decide what’s best for you and your family.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom:
- Offers special bonding for mom and baby.
- Provides a sense of empowerment.
- Allows for more rest.
- Decreases risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
- Burns extra calories to help shed pregnancy weight faster.
- Decreases rate of breast and ovarian cancer later in life.
- Helps prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures later in life.
- Decreases risk of heart disease.
- Eliminates bottles to wash or sterilize and formula containers to throw away.
- Provides nutrition for baby at the right temperature--no heating or cleaning
Breastfeeding Benefits for Baby:
- Provides the nutrition for babies during each stage of growth.
- Lowers risk of developing allergies.
- Provides better dental health.
- Lowers rate of colds requiring fewer doctor visits and expenses.
- Helps prevent adult obesity.Decreases risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death
- Decreases risk of developing breast cancer as adults.
- Linked to higher IQ scores (8-12 points).
- Reduces likelihood of developing respiratory infections, childhood cancers
- Reduces ear infections, urinary tract infections, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal
Thanks in part to the U.S. Government’s Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding
awareness campaign that launched in 2000, breastfeeding is making a comeback,
especially in workplaces, which are now required to accommodate the needs
of nursing mothers. CaroMont Health is deemed a Breast Friendly Workplace
by the North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition by making accommodations
to support employed breastfeeding mothers. For more information about
this award and other breastfeeding laws, visit
“The first few hours after the baby is born is key to successful
breastfeeding, and our goal is to have mom start as soon as possible after
giving birth,” said Desmarais.
The sooner mom starts breastfeeding, the sooner baby’s digestive
activity begins and the sooner he or she will receive colostrum. Also
called “liquid gold,” colostrum is the first milk produced
after birth and is high in protein, low in fat, contains fat-soluble vitamins
and minerals and is high in passive antibodies. And, as mom nurses more,
her breasts respond accordingly by making more milk.
Mother’s milk is unique and changes to meet the needs of the baby.
For instance, the breast milk produced for a premature baby is different
from the milk a mom would make for a full-term newborn. Regardless of
the state, all breast milk contains exactly the nutritional and protective
components needed most by each baby at every age.
“Nursing is a unique experience for both mom and baby, so what works
for one may not work for everyone,” said Desmarais. “Even
if you breastfeed less than the recommended six months, we encourage moms
to breastfeed for a short time than no time at all.”
Some circumstances may make breastfeeding more challenging such as women
who have had breast reduction surgery or augmentation as well as some
medical conditions or medications that may be harmful to the baby or to
mom’s milk supply. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to
Tips for Dad
A mother’s decision to breastfeed is a personal choice, but there
are many ways dad can help support mom and encourage her during this special time.
- Support her decision to provide your baby with the best nutrition.
- Bring the baby to her when it’s time to breastfeed and help her get
into comfortable positions.
- Burp, diaper, bathe, rock, wake or calm the baby.
- Screen calls and visitors while mom is breastfeeding and so she can rest
when she’s not.
- Pitch in with house cleaning, cooking and washing clothes.
- Once breastfeeding is established (about two weeks), offer bottles of expressed
breast milk to your baby.